Friday, December 14, 2012

World Boxing Match Turns into Modern Hanukkah Battle for Bet El Contestant - Video

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It happened at Armenia’s prestigious Demirchyan Sports Complex. Ten thousand people crowded the stands on November 25th for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Youth World Boxing Championship - thousands remained outside for lack of space.

Demirchyan Sports Complex in Armenia

Young contestants from 70 nations flew in for the event. Israel sent a small delegation of some eight boxers, each the national champion in his weight class.

Akiva Finkelstein (18) from Bet El, is Israel’s light welterweight (up to 140 lbs) champion. Born to Baruch – a published Torahscholar and real estate agent, and  Michal – a midwife at a Jerusalem hospital, Akiva viewed the boxing schedule upon arrival and saw that his first fight was set for Saturday night.

Bet El's Akiva Finkelstein at a Boxing Match

Being a religious Jew, Akiva and his father had faced many difficult halachic (Jewish legal) dilemmas at previous tournaments. Kosher food was always an issue. Other boxers delved into lavish steak dinners, while the Finkelsteins sufficed with fresh vegetables and canned kosher foods.

The standard procedure at  boxing tournaments is to weigh in on the first day to assure that each contestant is within his designated weight class.  But soon after arrival in Armenia, Akiva saw that the rules were slightly different. He immediately emailed his father stating that a new halachic problem had arisen: the boxers had to weigh in on the same morning of any scheduled fight. For Akiva, this meant getting on the electric scale on Saturday morning, the Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath), when orthodox Jews refrain from actively using electricity.

Akiva at a "time out"

Baruch joined his son in Armenia on Wednesday. He began negotiating with those in charge to try and have Akiva weighed in on Friday afternoon, before the onset of the Sabbath. The authorities wouldn't bend.

Baruch patiently explained the problem to a high official in the Int’l Boxing Association. After spending all the money to participate in the event and in view of the extenuating circumstances, Baruch told his son that if someone picks him up and places him on the scale while Akiva remains completely passive (in Jewish Law, this is called grama), that he could then weigh in on Saturday morning. The high official agreed to this arrangement, awkward as it was.

Come Saturday morning, Akiva’s turn to get on the scale arrived. The high official who agreed to the special arrangement was there. But when the big boss of the event saw what was going on, he intervened to stop it. “The boy has to step on to the scale,” the man in charge said.

The high official who wanted to accommodate told Baruch, “It’s my boss. I can’t overrule him.”

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The otherwise simple procedure of weighing in fighters came to a halt, a verbal exchange began, and the room became quiet. Baruch argued his son’s case – the case of Judaism. Other board members expressed their opinion: “If it’s a religious issue and in the final analysis the Israeli contestant would fulfill our guidelines of being weighed on the same morning of the fight, so what do we care? Let’s comply with his request and place him on the scale.”

The boss heard them, was leaning towards agreeing, but then posed a question to Baruch. “These Jewish laws are centuries old, right? Then how did they know about electricity back then? It hadn't been invented yet! What kind of a religion is this?”

Baruch wasn’t about to engage in a one-on-one study session with the big boss from Wales, England about the intricacies of electricity usage on the Sabbath in Jewish Law.

The boss made up his mind: “This Is utterly and completely absurd. I’ve never heard of anything like this in all my boxing years. And besides, what if this sets a precedent, and then maybe there will be a heavy guy who we can’t pick up. Forget this whole thing.” Turning to Baruch, he made his final call: “Your son either gets on the scale, or we disqualify him from his match tonight. He'll be out of the championship.”

Akiva at the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva (Seminary for Jewish studies)

The Israeli coach turned to the Finkelsteins and said, “How can you back out of this? Had we known, we would have brought someone else from Israel to represent us in this weight class. You can’t just disqualify yourself over stepping on the stupid scale. No way!”

Akiva began boxing when he was ten. From the outset, his coaches recognized his potential and said that if he works hard, he would represent Israel in the world championship when he turned 18. For eight years, Akiva had worked every single day for this moment.

His father even flew him to New York every summer to practice at Gleason’s World Famous Boxing Gym in Brooklyn. This is where Muhammed Ali trained along with many world boxing champions.

In addition to being a prize student in his Torah and secular studies, Akiva was completely focused on the 2012 World Championship for most of his childhood. It was his main aspiration.

And here the long-awaited moment had arrived and was in jeopardy over what appeared to all onlookers to be a trivial religious issue.

Baruch didn’t want to decide for his son. Akiva had sacrificed 8 years of his free time for this moment, and Baruch wasn’t going to be the one to take it away from him.

The room was completely quiet. The boss from Wales had given his final ultimatum. Baruch and all eyes were turned to 18-year-old Akiva.

Akiva tilted his head down and said, “I’m not getting on the scale. I can’t do it.”

The Int’l Boxing Association board promptly disqualified him. The Israeli coach was furious.

On Shabbat, Baruch and Akiva went to the only synagogue in the city where no one had prepared the Torah reading. Akiva accepted the challenge and read from the Torah.

The father and son got the earliest plane out and returned to Bet El, where Akiva went back to his Yeshiva.

I told this story to a Hanukkah gathering of my Israeli wife’s family. They are a mix of Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, Religious, Hassidic, and non-religious Jews.

Some of the family members said: “This is utter stupidity. Some solution had to be found. Sometimes you have to be slightly flexible in your values, in order to accomplish a greater goal. Not to do so is senseless, blind extremism!”

Other family members said: “Akiva was put to the test and showed that his core values are more important than a life’s goal in sports. The Greeks passed decrees against our religion to extinguish it, and the Maccabees put their lives on the line to protect and defend our ideals. Akiva reinforced that very same victory.”

The Hanukkah party turned into an ideological feud with each side trenched in firing sound arguments.

Dear readers, I seek your input. Was Akiva a winner or a loser? In the comments below, please complete the following:

And the Winner Is… (My comment is the first)


Postscript
After reading several comments below knocking Akiva's parents for encouraging him to box instead of increasing his Torah study, I am driven to add the following:

Much is to be gained by encouraging a child to express himself in an outlet that he excels in. Increasing hours of Torah study is always commendable, and, yes, it is the aspiration of any religious Jewish parent. 

But if a child seeks to develop a natural talent, by encouraging him, the child gains character, self-confidence, life force and simcha (happiness). So if a "righteous" parent comes along and "clips his wings" not allowing him to satisfy his inner aspiration, they are raising him to be "benoni" - a person of mediocre character. 

It follows that even if the Torah-driven parents do "succeed" in increasing the child's hours of Torah study at the expense of pursuing a hobby like boxing, his Torah study will be less daring, less original, and less of a contribution to the Jewish People because his character has been suffocated by his very own parents. 

A happy child with a robust character will contribute more to the Torah world than a child who was raised not being allowed to express his inner yearnings. 

So when Akiva the boxer now reaches his post-high school Yeshiva studies, he is bringing to the gemara a more-developed character and therefore more blessing and success in his Torah studies. 

Kudos to Baruch and Michal Finkelstein for raising such children of character. I bless the "righteous" commentators that their children should merit to have at least a fraction of the drive that Akiva I'm sure will have in his Torah learning. I suggest that Baruch and Michal give classes in "Educating children around the home" in some of the towns where these righteous comment-writers are from.


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63 comments:

  1. After the incident, Baruch was talking with one of the Israeli coaches who mentioned that his grandfather was a famous Rabbi in southern Russia. Baruch looked the coach in the eye and asked, "What would your grandfather say about what my son did?" The coach pondered for a moment and answered, "I guess he did the right thing."

    Upon return to Israel, another coach highly praised Akiva for "displaying amazing character." I think I have to award the championship to Akiva who in my eyes is a modern Jewish hero.

    Baruch Gordon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember the wise words of Jesus, when they asked him why his followers were eating with unclean hands and Jesus said it is what comes out of a man which is unclean not what he eats... this does not mean you shouldn't wash your hands before you eat, but rather Jesus pointed out that one must not confuse the traditions of men (washing hands) with God's law (sinning through your heart).

      Conclusion: he should have gotten on the scale and gotten it over with.

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    2. Walter - Stop trying to spread your un-Jewish propaganda. This is a Jewish site with nothing to do with JC or any other Xtian nonsense.
      Meanwhile, I am so proud of this Akiva! He stood up to a most difficult test, and we all admire you!

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    3. Walther, we appreciate Christians who support Israel, but we are JEWISH and have Jewish values. No one here suggests that you renounce Jesus, so don't ask US to renounce the Torah which we believe G-D gave us. Bravo Akiva, you are a HERO!

      Delete
  2. Of course he did the right thing; but from a halachic point of view, he is not even allowed to be placed on the scale by a gentile on Shabbatt, it was wrong to even consider that option.

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    1. My guess is that you are correct, and that most recognized Poskim would agree with you.

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    2. There is a teshuva in Igros Moshe about a religious television actor whom he permitted to have make up put on him by a non-Jew on Shabbos - this might be the same.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. The winner is Israel for having a son of the Maccabees'. Israel needs more of these and our prayer is they would begin to arise and bring redemption to Israel.Our prayers are with you in these times. May Hashem G-d of Israel Bless you ALL your family and ALL Israel.

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  6. Steve Cohen - TiberiasDecember 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    And the winner is... the Big Boss from Wales. My friends, the guy was right for not bending.

    This article makes me hate religious people. Because they come across as such fanatics over the most trite issues. If only they would realize how utterly stupid they appear to the cultured world, when a brainwashed 18-year-old won't step up on a scale because of Judaism. I am so embarrassed to be Jewish when I hear about things like this.

    I wish religious people would realize that they have a brain and not just follow blindly their religion. How will the Jewish People ever unite when there are brainless zealots amongst us in increasing numbers?

    I am totally for Am Yisrael Chai and unite, but Akiva - grow up! I am pained after reading this. How will we ever extricate ourselves from this sad state of affairs?

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    1. Steve the real " Big Boss " made this all happen. This kid made a decision based on his value system. Biased as it may be he was not "brain washed". The sign of a good Rabbi is that he can find a Hallachic way to make things work. But to quote Kenny Rodgers " You have to know when to hold , fold ,and walk away " (not exact quote) . He made His choice. You would not want a religious person commenting on a decision that you and your son made . Would you ?

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    2. No offense Steve, but the only reason for Am Yisrael Chai is because of men who are willing to live by their principles, specifically the principles of Shabbat. That you don't respect Shabbat makes one wonder what it is about Am Yisrael you wish to live--so we can be like the mindless manager from Wales? Would he have been so outspoken, "This Is utterly and completely absurd" if it was a Muslim boxer? Don't have an answer to that. What I do know is that Am Yisrael lives because of its Torah, without which, there is nothing special about Am Yisrael.

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    3. Any Jew who lives in Israel & still goes by his goyishe name has zero credibility on matters of Jewish law. Shame on you for being so ignorant of our Torah.

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    4. Steve, Your distaste for the the Orthodox Jew is pitiful.
      We have rules that we try to follow to the best of our ability. Sometimes we err. Are we perfect NO. But just like a Dr. or an Attorney have a code of ethics so do we as Orthodox Jews have the Torah both the Written and Oral. We do our best to live our lives accordingly. He and his father looked for a solution to the problem, they came up with one (was it right a right one or a wrong one, I do not know). When you can understand what Shabbat is then you can comment. Until then respect this young mans decision to observe his religion. 26 years ago I gave up a position that would have made me a very wealthy man, because I would have had to work on Shabbat. I have no regrets. My grandfather was one of those greenhorns who got a job on Sunday and was fired on Friday because he would not work on Shabbat.
      Learn what Shabbat is. The Torah is what is keeping Am Yisrael Chai.
      A Jew without Torah will just become assimilated and disappear.
      Akiva you are a champion for the Jewish people by sticking to your beliefs. Chazk Vematz, Kol HaKavod.

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    5. It is so easy to dismiss the small details of Shabbat observance as trivial or even stupid if one does not understand the essence of Shabbat. By the same token one not versed in astrophysics may disregard the small cog which was missing in the Challenger and led to its destruction as trite. I am not versed in astrophysics, but I know enough to understand that there are experts who say which elements are essential and cannot be disregarded. Steve, you may be an expert in your own field, whatever that may be, but please do not denigratet the keeping of the laws of Shabbat as trite or brainless. Shabbat observance, even in the face of adversity or "losing face," has saved the lives of individual Jews and even communities on many occations. I have seen the evidence. In my opinion, those present respected young Akiva more than the Welsch boss. Akiva may have lost the championship, but his gains far outweigh the loss, and we have not yet seen the longs term results. Who won? Akiva and Shabbat tipped the scale easily.

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  7. Chaim Miller - JerusalemDecember 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Very nice! Congrats to you Akiva on your show of character. We are all proud of you in your decision to uphold the values that are important to our nation, even at great personal sacrifice.

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  8. Let's draft Akiva right into Sayeret Matkal - the IDF's most elite unit! Of course he's the winner!

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  9. Wait one second here. You are asking if Akiva is the winner for siding with Shabbos over boxing?

    What about the more obvious question! This Jewish boy has wasted 8 years of his childhood in a ring swinging fists in order to be a better fighter? Is this what religious-Zionists are proud of? In my town, any parent would be ashamed of their son! How could you - Baruch and Michal - the parents of this delinquent child allow him to go into boxing? This contributes nothing - I repeat - nothing to the Jewish people or to Torah or to the child? So what if he knows how to beat people up?

    A religious bachur should be sitting and learning. Think of how many tosfots he could have learned in all those years, how many blot of gemara. I would be fasting and crying to Hashem if my son expressed interest in boxing. That is a sport for meshuganas who have no direction in life but to swing their fists while the audience cheers at every blow.

    Baruch, I follow your blog from time to time because I see that you are a religious-Zionist who has yiras shamayim. You warn people about the dangers of the internet! What did you find in this story that was inspiring? This story has zero value. Akiva is so unfortunate to not have been given better guidance as to where to direct his energies. What a waste of a Jew.

    The Torah will live on with the Hareidi community, period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lazar please wake up. Learning 24/6 is not for everyone. I live in Lakewood and no one publicly speaks about the children that are falling through the cracks. The Torah will live on yes. But we have been down this road . Balance will make the world go "derech yeshara "

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    2. Nissan Ratzlav-KatzDecember 16, 2012 at 8:03 PM

      Would you say the same so-called "mussar", Lazar of Beitar Illit, to Rambam? He wrote (Moreh Nevukhim 3, 25):

      "Thus those who exercise their body in the wish to be healthy, engaging in ball games, wrestling, **boxing** and suspension of breathing . . . are in the opinion of the ignorant engaged in frivolous actions, whereas they are not frivolous according to the Sages."

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    3. This comment is just too disgusting and lacking in Torah knowledge (Rambam) to be properly answered. The writer's limited training disqualifies him.

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    4. Agreed. To fight in self-defense to protect yourself, your family, and your nation is one thing. To fight for glory, money, and fame is NOT a Jewish value.

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    5. "This Jewish boy has wasted 8 years of his childhood in a ring swinging fists..."

      You make it sound like he was doing that all day long for 8 years. But I wonder if his time spent training might only be the same amount of time you spend on the internet....

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  10. Kol hakavod !

    Did a Kidush Hashhem.

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  11. Such a simple request of Akiva but still the boss couldn't tolerate it,it's obvious that it was bothering him to see a young jewish person devoted to G-ds will,I am sure Akiva is not brainwashed as clearly he has been brought up in an open minded family as the fact is that he is a boxer which shows that they let him make his own personal choices.And maybe only because you are a boxer did you have such an opportunity to make such a huge Kiddush HAshem and may you continue to shine light in the rings!

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  12. I agree that it was right for Akiva not to participate on Shabbat. I also agree with Lazar that this is far from the pinnacle of the ideal Torah Jew. Granted that there are plenty of Jews who are not suited for learning all the time, there are plenty of ways to spend your time besides hitting people in a sports framework. There are non-violent sports, there are also non-competitive forms of self-defense. Boxing is pretty primitive. It was also clear that the kid and his family and the Israeli team failed to do their homework. This whole subject is as full of holes as Swiss cheese and it is hard to draw any conclusions from it.

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    1. There are sheep; and there are sheep dogs. They are not the same thing. One is to be shorn, killed and eaten by others; a defenseless herd creature with no idea of its future. The other prevents predators from preying on the sheep, protecting them from their foibles and the wolves of the world. Not all people (or Jews) are endowed with the ability to sit all day and write off those who would protect them, their friends, families, and property as being somehow inferior creatures. The sheep dog is fed, housed, and valued by the higher beings who control his life, like the sheep; but without having his milk, and wool taken before he is roasted on the spit. Akiva is light years ahead in maturity, mental, and physical skills than his contemporary 'sheeple' brothers. He will not live off the wealth of others.

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  13. He did what was right in his eyes according to his beliefs. His parents agreed. He'll remember the moment of his choice forever, & it'll become a legend (similar to Sandy Koufax not playing baseball on Yom Kippur, although more so because Akiva is mitzvah observant.) But most importantly, HaShem watched & kvelled, I'm sure. In fact, HaShem rewarded him with the opportunity to do a mitzvah right afterwards. Kol Hakavod to Akiva & to his family for helping to give him true values.

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  14. Kol hakavod to Akiva and his father!! If someome will come up with the budget, I'll be happy to make the movie! (Tzvi Fishman)

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  15. Very disappointed with Akiva's father, not so much with Akiva himself. He should have gone on that scale and he should have fought.
    Numerous times I've seen frume yidn breaking Shabbat for lesser reasons, like turning off a cell phone mistakenly left in the pocket of a jacket as one is walking to shul, or going through metal detectors and checks as I did when I went to shul in Mexico City, etc.
    Akiva is and will continue to be a good Jew, regardless of whether he got on that scale or not. I'm sick and tired of this notion that a "serious bochur" has to spend his life studying Tosafot and Gemara. There are many who do that already, and are useless individuals in every other way. From poor husbands, to poor parents, to poor citizens, they embody everything that hard working observant (and non observant) Jews strive to avoid, especially that affinity to being schnorers without a trace of personal embarrassment.

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  16. Akiva is not only a winner, but this blog represents that his message is eternal. No one would have known if Akiva would have won as a boxer, but they certainly know that he is a true hero. Rav Soloveitchik describes that Judaism views the hero not only as the one with tremendous koach, strength, but with gevura, might. The Mishna (Avot) teaches that "Who is truly mighty (Gibbor), the one who holds back his passions. Rav Soloveitchik gives a number of examples of those who at the final moments, as victory is in their grasps, exhibits true gevura by holding back. Akiva's story might even have appeared in Rav Soloveitchik's writings has it happened in his lifetime. Yashar Koach. You are a true gibbor.

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  17. the young man made a powerful kiddush Hashem. who knows what kind of tikkun he made for himself, his family and our people? he may well have "won" a huge victory in ways that we can never imagine. one wonders why, beforehand, it was not stipulated that he could not participate in activities on shabbat? that might've helped things.
    although i take umbrage with the commenter who referred to him as a 'delinquent'... a very non-torah and non-respectful thing to do...one does have to wonder why a torah family would have their son spend so much time practicing boxing? it says that he was a great torah student as well. how much time did david hamelech spend on warfare practice? this is a valuable question here.
    the main point: what he did was beyond this world. the ramifications of it are not available to us in this world. he did a great kiddush Hashem, G-d bless him and his family.

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  18. And the Winner is Am Yisroel!

    Other nations have come and gone. It is the koach found within simple, yet great Jews like our brother Akiva which has given us the strength to survive! I can't wait to share this with my NCSYers!

    --> Akiva, I can't speak for your father in Biet El, but I know beyond any doubt Our Father In Heaven is shepping tremendous nachas from you! Rak Chazak V'ematz! It's decisions like yours that make us proud!

    B'ahava
    Avi Feder

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    1. Absolutely! Akiva, you make me proud to be a Jew! Any taent can be developed, but the human body can eventually fail, and with time always does. True strength comes from G-D, as HIS strength never fails, so you to, Akiva, demonstrated your spiritual strength and in doing so, proved you were more powerful than the greatest boxer who ever lived!

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  19. Yisrael Meir - Bnei BrakDecember 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    The religious-Zionist world is hopeless. Rumors have it that Bet El is one of the centers of serious Torah study in the religious-Zionist velt. If this is their pride, - a yeshiva student who spends 8 years boxing - what utter norishkeit!

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  20. chazak uvaruch! you really won the battle with the "other side" and strengthened the world. i don't know many 18-year-olds who could make such a good decision. your merit is tremendous and will no doubt help in saving Jewish lives in these times.

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  21. I am not Orthodox, but I grew up on that side of Conservatism and remain so. I'm continually astonished at liberal Jews who care little, if at all, for halacha, or for Israel for that matter. With all that still goes on in the world contrary to the interests of Jews and Israel, how can anyone believe that this young mman was wrong to stick to his religious principles? Society has diminished so much in the 40+ years since I graduated from college, including the general erosion ofreligious belief and faith. And clearly not for the better.

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    Replies
    1. just curious, you describe yourself as non-orthodox yet care about Halacha? How does that work?

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  22. Akiva, since you are sincere to Hashem, he saved you from being placed on the scale! (As others pointed out, that might also be chilul Shabbos.) Hashem will reward you with the true taste of emotional sweetness of Shabbat Kodesh. It is very possible that the boxing route in your life might of ended up bad c"v.
    Have a good Shabbos!
    -natan
    ps. One of the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympics decided NOT to go, since his competition was to be on Shabbat.

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  23. What's the object of boxing? To pummel and hurt the other guy. One who boxes seeks to knock out (knock unconscious) the other person. In fact, boxers have been killed in the ring. Another fact, every boxer has been permanently harmed by his boxing: see Muhammed Ali, he hasn't been able to put two coherent sentences together since he left the ring. Does someone see a Jewish value in this monstrous sport? Does this represent kindness to mankind, love of humanity (what if the opponent were a Jew, is this Ahavas Yisroel?) Someone's got their values a bit screwed up!

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    1. Agreed. To fight in self-defense to protect yourself, your family, and your nation is one thing. To fight for glory, money, and fame is NOT a Jewish value.

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  24. A Kiddesh HaShem! Thank you for making the Jewish people proud of you. I wish you success in your boxing career as well.

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  25. Kol Hakavod Akiva, you are a true champion!
    I think that those that are criticizing you have no idea of the sacrifice you made.
    Those with no appreciation of a true commitment to the Torah, and to be true to your principles. It is truly sad that other Jews can not recognize this.
    Those that are coming from a Haredi perspective have no appreciation of what you overcame.
    I am sure Hashem was pleased beyond measure.
    I think that arguing weather boxing is good or bad is besides the point. The point is the amazing decision Akiva made at that moment. Clearly you have great inner strength. Yaysher Koach!

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  26. The saddest thing here is that a parent would allow a child to take the time and effort to nurture the passion and develop the skill that necessarily goes into this type of effort…only to simultaneously raise him in a way of life that would NEVER allow him to truly fulfill his desire for success within it. See my blog for more comments on this...

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    1. What is the heter to engage in this "sport"? The fact that the other boxers agree to be punched does not help. No one has the right to allow himself to be injured except for medical reasons (e.g. an operation).

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  27. RE: The postscript.
    I agree with you and have one last thing to say. Many of these parents and other posters are going to find, the more you stifle and frustrate a child's inner yearnings, the more likely he will throw off what you are trying to shove down his throat. I see it constantly, those who leave the Torah world to experience what they wanted to do as children. The numbers are not insignificant and growing. The Rambam was correct in his assessment of the yeshivot, learning NOT for the sake of teaching, and those in France!

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  28. Hi Baruch, do you know where to contact Mr.
    Akiva Finkelstein? I'm publishing an iPad magazine entitled Sabbath Rest Magazine. I would want to have an interview with him. thanks

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    Replies
    1. Write to my email and I will let you know.
      Baruch

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  29. This was included in this week's edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival!

    (#391)

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  30. I would note that even the non-Jewish sport world recognizes the value of someone keeping their religion (see Wikipedia on Eric Liddle : " A devout Christian, Liddell refused to run in a heat held on Sunday (the Christian Sabbath) and was forced to withdraw from the 100-metres race, his best event. The schedule had been published several months earlier, and his decision was made well before the Games. Liddell spent the intervening months training for the 400 metres, though his best pre-Olympics time of 49.6 seconds, set in winning the 1924 AAA championship 440 yards,[1] was modest by international standards. When the day of the Olympic 400 metres race came, Liddell went to the starting blocks, where an American Olympic Team masseur slipped a piece of paper into his hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30: 'Those who honor me I will honor.'" He went on to win the race.[ This story is told in the movie "Chariots of Fire", which I comment on here:
    http://beneaththewings.blogspot.co.il/2008/01/chariots-of-fire.html ]
    Yes, Mr. Liddell had to give up his preferred race, but today he is admired.

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  31. What an incredible success story. For a Jew to proclaim his values on such an international scale is more significant than any prize.

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  32. Who is the "rabbi" who paskened to have someone put the young man on the scale? Why was no rabbi and no Israeli official (e.g. the ambassador) consulted about the issue? Why were the rules of the tournament not studied in advance?

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  33. I like how some of the athletic personalities in the story see the triumph of character as a win, more than his complete forfeiture. That's very meaningful to me about how sports can develop character - if done with the right attitude.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  34. Baruch is the winner!
    How many blot gemora could Lazer have learned instead of writing his comment?

    If you want to read an authentic chareidi reaction to this story follow this link: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/12/27/a-torah-personalitys-pain/

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  35. The psak was correct, in my opinion.

    Boruch would not have been doing any action by allowing himself to be placed upon the scale. He would not have been responsible for whatever occurred as a result.

    This issue is discussed in relation to Shabbos elevators. Its details are beyond the scope of the comment section of this blog.

    Baruch was koneh olamo b'sha'ah achat.

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  36. Baruch and Akiva, you are heroes!
    Not just heroes to Jewry,
    Not just heroes and role models to those of us who go to work everyday and aspire to rise to moral, ethical and halachic standards in the context of professional excellence, But to all those who want to live as individuals and raise their children as individuals- not members of a herd

    Kol Hakavod- Hashem Imachem Giborei HeChayil

    If you choose to continue boxing can you please provide an outlet for people to follow and root for you!

    Rabbi Daniel A. Rubin

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  37. Akiva won the fight without getting into the ring

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  38. It would have been wiser for the International Boxing Association to allow him to be lifted onto the scales to allow him to weigh-in. Amateur boxing is very strict about weights. The "boss" that intervened to prevent the above arrangement was an idiot. It makes no difference how you arrive on the scales. The purpose is to measure your weight, nothing else. It takes about 30 seconds to weigh-in.

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